[To all fans of the Mickey Mouse Club, I apologize for parodying the lyrics of the closing song!]
A few weeks ago, The Walt Disney Company took a bold stand on a growing problem that’s plaguing our country: childhood obesity. For being the first major media outlet to create standards for advertisers of food products, Disney received waves of praise, as well as criticism.
If you haven’t heard about this yet, click here for a link to Disney’s official press release.
Here’s where things get interesting. In a New York Times article about this effort, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger was quoted as saying, “This is not altruistic. This is about smart business.”
Please don’t read that quote and start to harbor bad feelings toward Bob Iger or Disney. Let me try to connect the dots in a way that may help us all learn from this monumental move.
1) Do your customers value support? If so, ditch the computerized phone system and hire a staff of friendly and knowledgeable customer service reps that can answer the phones.
2) Do your customers value reliability? If so, ditch the extraneous bells and whistles so you can simplify your products and make them last longer.
3) Do your customers value convenience? If so, ditch the endless paperwork, cluttered displays, or needless options that may be slowing down the buying process.
An easy way to strengthen your brand is to align your company’s values with those of your customers. Disney saw a shift in the values of American consumers as more parents are focused on keeping their families healthy. By implementing a new mandate on advertising, they clearly showed that they understand and support those values.
While this move may result in short-term losses in advertising revenues, my guess is that those losses will be easily recovered as a result of the goodwill that’ll be gained along the way.
So, how can we look at this move and apply it to our own careers/businesses? Find out what’s important to your consumers and take a bold stand.